Belgium's polished diamond trade suffered from a 9.8 percent decline in exports in 2012 as trade in December plunged, within IDEX Online's forecast. Along with the decline in exports is a decline in imports and trade by volume.
Belgium exported $13.21 billion worth of polished diamonds in 2012, a decline from the $14.64 billion worth of polished exported in 2011, according to figures published by the AWDC.
The volume of exports dropped 18 percent to 6.95 million carats.
Imports during the year declined 8.1 percent to $12.9 billion and the volume of imports 17.2 percent to 7.44 million carats.
Throughout the year, export trends in 2012 were similar to 2011, with one noticeable difference at the end of the year. In December 2012 exports declined sharply, underscoring the difficulties jewelry retailers faced.
In December, Belgium exported 534,667 carats valued at $997.9 million, dropping 18.9 percent in volume and 17.6 percent in value.
Imports during the month fell even more, plunging 29.4 percent to $774.8 million as the volume dropped 37 percent to 405,883 carats.
According to a recent report by IDEX Online, a surprising last minute rise in Belgium's rough diamond exports may signal a hopeful outlook on the part of manufacturers, but did not prevent an overall decline in trade for 2012.
Belgium exported $13.51 billion worth of rough diamonds in 2012, a 6.3 percent decline compared to 2011, according to figures published by the AWDC.
The volume of exports declined 2.5 percent to 104.4 million carats.
Antwerp witnessed a 3.9 percent decline in the average value of overall goods in 2012. However, this paints just a partial picture. After rising from the start of the year until May, prices of rough declined during the summer months. In November traders hiked prices, but that was unsustainable and in December prices declined again.
Rough diamond imports of $12.25 billion in 2012 declined 8.8 percent compared to 2011. The volume of imports also declined, falling 10.7 percent to 6.7 million carats.
In December, rough exports leaped 33.5 percent from November to $1.39 billion. Year-over-year this was a 16.9 percent increase. One possible explanation is a belief on the part of traders that demand for polished will improve in 2013, and started stocking up on rough.
Imports during the month fell 15.5 percent from November, but increased 12.7 percent from 2011, totaling $929.8 million.